Krist Novoselic has already tackled the issue in his weekly SW column, but Web sites and blogs are talking about his decision to (sort of) run for public office in Wahkiakum County. The Daily World, the local paper for the county, reports that the one-time Nirvana bassist filed Wednesday to run for county clerk as a member of the "Grange Party."
This isn't the first time that Novoselic, a resident of Grays River Valley, has taken on local politics. He's already served as Chairman of the Wahkiakum County Democratic Party and Master of the Grays River Grange. But this time, Novoselic is throwing his hat in the ring as a form of protest.
Novoselic registered to run as a member of the "Grange Party," which doesn't exist. The Washington Post called it a "publicity stunt," while the Daily World said "it's a move designed to confuse voters" and consequently bring attention to problems in the Top Two primary election system.
Other blogs have picked up the story, too -- even Entertainment Weekly and tabloid OK! magazine.
"I listed 'prefers Grange Party' in this partisan race," Novoselic told the Daily World. "Of course there is no such thing as a Grange Party. Before I-872 was implemented in Washington, it would have been illegal to list Grange, or American Legion, Eagles, Boy Scouts or whatever next to a candidate's name on the public ballot. The way I-872 is implemented is confusing voters."
Over on the Daily Weekly, Novoselic claims that it's state law that is confusing -- not his actions. He points out that while primary elections in Washington are supposed to be non-partisan, candidates are actually allowed to state which party they "prefer" when registering for office. This means that primary ballots inadvertently--or in Novoselic's view, intentionally--list candidates' political affiliations.
"There are very complicated legal arguments with why I can claim to be a Grange Party candidate on the ballot," writes Novoselic. "The State offers a disclaimer that says a candidate might not really be representing a party; they only prefer that party. This is pure legalese, cooked up by lawyers who are trying to skirt associational issues in court by parsing the word prefers."
Novoselic previously took on the primary issue in a column on the Grays River Grange Web site, calling for a state settlement to change voting rules.
So, what's next? Novoselic claims he doesn't want to win and would rather vote for the incumbent. If elected, he'll resign.
And since it's only a matter of time until some other blogger does, we might as well just dub this "Novoselic-gate" right now.
UPDATE: The Daily News has posted an extensive story about Novoselic's political career.